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Orders to report to Italy in early February turned the holidays into a whirlwind for us this year.  We sold our house (easier said than done!) and did our best to listen to Christmas music and enjoy the season with each other and with friends.  Judging by the photos, I’d say we are doing OK!

an adventure for jess

Jess traveled to California alone for a few days of family, sun, beach, and a farewell to Kevin.  The sun was glorious, the waves magnificent, the time with family connecting, and the trip back to Bremerton rainy and gray.

beautiful fall

We took our annual Fall walk along the Dosewallips River in the Olympic National Forest.  We go back every year because, well, it’s just so darn gorgeous– as you can see by the first set of photos.  The second set of photos shows us enjoying our usual woods spot (Illahee Preserve), only this time covered in leaves.

pacific beach

Thanks to the brilliant idea of our friend Jessica, we finally made it to Pacific Beach (an ocean “resort” for military members).  I’ve been meaning to go for years, but I guess I needed a kick in the pants to get there.  We rented a “cabin” (an old Navy base house) near the ocean for the weekend and spent our time taking walks to and from the beach, bowling at the bowling alley, eating at the cafe, and mostly just hanging out together.  Their sweet girls adore Ashton and Cedar, and Matt too (I don’t think I’m quite as fun as the rest of my family!).  I’m thankful we finally visited the “real” ocean while in Washington.

california time

The kids and I took a quick trip to California at the end of September.  We celebrated Kevin’s life, reunited with my half-siblings, and enjoyed a few days with grandparents.  Grandpa had the kids jumping with him into the cold pool at 8am every morning (and then again in the afternoons), we visited Apple Hill for some treats, and the kids had fun playing with the new kitten, Freya.

comings and goings

The beginning of fall brought homeschool learning, including art projects, tie-dying, independent learning with presentations, a new daily schedule, and more.  We enjoyed the last of the warm days with hiking, woods time, a trip with friends to Guillemot Cove, and family fire pit time.  Jessica is now in two choirs and spends hours each week learning songs and attending practices.  Cedar met famous author Cressida Cowell and got a signed book, and Ashton said a sad farewell to her best friend, Leia, who moved away.